Tuesday, April 11, 2006

2500 Hits

On January 17th, 2006 I installed a hit counter. I use Site Meter, but there are several that offer free versions of their software to track various aspects of the traffic to a site. Why Site Meter? One of the blogs I read regularly (I don’t remember which one) uses it and clicking on the counter linked me to their site. I liked it enough to pay the fifty or so bucks for the upgraded one-year service. It's pretty cool; it provides a wealth of interesting but largely useless information.

I bring all this up because, in all likelihood, I’ll hit 2,500 visits tomorrow. This is just about one week shy of my blog’s four-month anniversary (has it been that long?!) and almost three months since installing the counter. So what does all this mean? I’m not quite sure. I should qualify this number by saying that a lot of these visits are “drive-bys.” They probably didn’t read anything and spent little or no time on my site. Many others are regular readers. They account for a visit each time they stop by and some of my readers stop by daily (thank you).

Additionally, for the first two or three weeks after installing the counter, every one of my own visits was counted – and there were a lot of them. I did not know that I could ignore them until I had explored all that Site Meter was capable of. Like blogging itself, there was a learning curve involved. One that would have progressed much more rapidly had I read the instructions. Yeah, yeah, I know! Having said all this, what does it all mean?

First and foremost, this is primarily a curiosity for me. Primarily, but not exclusively. Although I find the stats interesting and I like to see where my visitors hail from, there is a lingering question; a motive checker that I can’t totally shake. What if nobody stopped on my blog? Let’s be real: I don’t do this just to get it out of our head. I write to be read, and I want evidence. To that end, Site Meter is working for me.

Before installing the hit counter, the only way I knew anyone ever read my stuff was from the comments left. It took a little time before I realized that anyone knew I even existed, but I was not all that concerned. As I stated in my first couple of posts, this blog was a vehicle to keep myself writing in between semesters at Sac State. When I received my first comment (actually it was the second, the first was from some whacko), I was absolutely thrilled. I started to read and comment on other blogs via the links in the comments/profiles/blogs/comments and so on.

Back in February, my friend Barbara ran a poll on her blog asking what meant more, comments or stats. Although it is a decidedly unscientific poll, the results are still telling: Most respondents put more weight on comments than hit stats. One of those votes was my own. I figure that if I have moved you enough that you took the time to respond, then I have done more than simply entertain or inform.

As I learned more and more about blogs and blogging, I learned about things I was not necessarily interested in, such as promoting my blog. This is a key point… I don’t know how I rate in regards to hits on other blogs. I assume that I get more hits than some and less than others – I don’t care. There is no relative importance. That I have a few readers - regular readers - is good enough. It is also should not go unsaid that - based on their own blogs and their comments left on mine - they are readers whose opinions I respect.

In a way, this is my practice field – a proving-grounds as it were. Those who read me regularly know that my ultimate goal is to write professionally in some capacity. Blogging and posting for anyone to read and comment on is like practicing using live ammo. It’s out there, it’s public and it’s real. Additionally, in my case, it’s completely attributable – my profile reveals my real name. There is no anonymity here.


The Zombieslayer said...

Heh. It's been four months? It's funny, because I still see you as a new kid on the block. Not in a bad way, of course. But I remember when I first started reading your blog.

Comments mean more to me. Don't really care about hits. I know a lot of people read but don't comment, including several personal friends of mine and some family members.

As for anonymity (sp?), I prefer to remain anonymous. Hats off to those who show their true faces, but I don't want anyone at my work to know it's me. I just see it as it will come back to bite me in the *ss. Plus, I won't be able to talk about the new girl at work who's really cute.

X said...

Woo hoo! It's at 2,500 right now! I'm lucky number 2,500! What do I win? Yay you! :)

I installed a site meter a while back, but I never check it.

BTW, I saw a political writer job for AP posted somewhere based in Sacremento and thought of you. You should look into that.

PS: I hope this posts! I wrote this loooong comment fro your last post and lost it because of a blogger issue.

Congrats again on 2,500!!!! :)

Jinsane said...

Well, I'm 2502 - so someone came by here with out commenting!! Hmmmm....

I am really into reading and posting comments. I think it took me about three months before I got my first comment, aside from spammers. I remember being so excited!!

Blogging has helped me in so many ways and I will always be grateful for my e-buddies!!!

P.S. How's the nicotine battle going??

OldLady Of The Hills said...

So,about this blogging thing. I'm not sure I understand completely why I do it...and I don't think I started out knowing why I am doing this...Yes, I love having people come and read me and I love comments. I thought about getting a Site Meter thing...but, haven't gotten around to it...It certainly would be interesting to see how many people actually stop by, weather they comment or not, but...I'm not absoultely pining to know....Do I want to pimp my blog? No. I am not even sure what that all means, either...the publicizing of one's blog...Hmmmmm.
I guess I'm content to just go along as I have been, and as things evolve...they WILL evolve, you know? Anyway, Mike, it's good to be visiting again...I haven't been well enough to do my usual visiting, but I am now Much Much Better, so here I am.

CyberKitten said...

Mike said: Blogging and posting for anyone to read and comment on is like practicing using live ammo.

Now *that's* good... [big grin].

Bar L. said...

Hey! I was in your post today!!! That gave me a smile. My main comment is:

Your drive by readers don't know what they are missing.

I occasionally look at my site meter, but it really is all about the comments, the relationships I've developed with amazing people I never would have met otherwise (like you!) and also: I LOVE TO WRITE. I can't stop writing. I've written all my life, but now people see it. It's a trip. Love it.

Michael K. Althouse said...

zs ~ ya, four months - time sure flies.

I prefer comments too, and I am lagging on leaving them myself and on commenting back on my blog's comments, like I'm doing right now.

One thing the hit counter does is to help identify readers like myself that have stopped by, but for whatever reason did not comment. It's nice to know whose stopping by. It's fun to see the stats too.

oilf ~ Thank you, thank you and you may name your prize! (Actually, a "drive-by" was 2,500, but I disqualified it, so you still win. My blog, my rules!)

jinsane ~ I totally agree. Nicotine update: still smoke-free! It's getting a little easier.

ooloth ~ So glad you're feeling better. I with you on the blog pimping thing - better to let it take its course.

cyber ~ Thank you... I'm pretty fond of that phrase too. So useful in so many situations!

bar bar a ~ Ya, I was gonna email you, but I figured I leave it a surprise!

neal said...

I stop by almost every morning while having my daily cup of coffee.

I also wonder sometimes if people are actually stopping by my blog since I don't get much commentary on what I say. Then again, maybe I am just an idiot!

Michael K. Althouse said...

neal ~ I know... The stats show it. After a while, I have been able to match up IPs and visitors. It's kinda fun, you might want to check it out, it's free and fairly simple. You may be surprised by the results. I certainly don't think you're an idiot!


Ellen said...

I tried so hard to make the rounds of my sidebar last night, but could no longer hold my eyes open to comment here after reading.

I find I come over here to read your wonderful work, but may not have anything relevant to say at the time in order to comment... or I'm just "plain ole brain dead".
Sometimes I'll come by with a thought, but lose it, and have to come back again. In all this, I am "hitting" your site meter several times a day. Sorry if I'm screwing up your numbers.

I agree with everybody else, and like the comments. It has been a pleasure getting to know the people who drop by and have become part of my extended family on the web.... as well as coming by their blogs and reading their work.

For you to have over 2500 hits is amazing... it goes to show you that your work is indeed good!

Christine said...

I linked through someone else's link, through someone else's link....you know the story!

I like Site Meter as well and think it's really cool to see who's visiting me. I wonder why someone would be interested in this girl's story but what I've learned about myself is that there is some really funny stuff in the most ordinary of things!